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Soapbox Racer Out of Found Material 


Soapbox Racer Out of Found 

Written By: Monika 


screws, drill. saw(1) wheels, base, seat, screws (1) 


I am the owner of the Open Source Gallery, an alternative art space in the South Slope 
district of Brooklyn, NY. We host a Soap Box Camp for kids and a Soap Box Derby for kids 
and adults every August. All cars are built completely out of trash we find in the 
neighborhood. We organize a block party and, given the fact that our street has a nice 
incline, we race dozens of vehicles down the street. Judges evaluate the entries on criteria 
including engineering, design and SPEED! My car made it up to the top 3! 

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Soapbox Racer Out of Found Material 

Step 1 — Soapbox Racer Out of Found Material 

Explore the neighborhood for materials that can be recycled as parts for a soapbox car. 
Specifically, look for a base, wheels and a seat. Old pieces of wood, discarded strollers 
and cushions are very helpful. 

Step 2 

• Attach the rear wheels, which should be larger than the front wheels. I had to build a 
structure around the wheel out of wood. Make sure the wheels spin straight. 

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Soapbox Racer Out of Found Material 

Step 3 

• Decide on a steering mechanism for the front wheels. This can be accomplished easily by 
drilling a hole in the middle of a 2-by-4-inch wood block, then connecting the 2-by-4 to the 
axle and base with a screw. Steer by pushing with your feet on either side of the 2-by-4. 

• For my own car I did steer with my feet in some boots I found. The skis were attached with 
one screw on the front axle, but were not attached in the back. I made some simple tracks 
with stoppers for stability. 

Step 4 

• While the point of a soapbox derby 
is to go fast, it is still important to 
slow down after the race. A simple 
piece of wood, screwed to the side 
of the car, functions as a good 
hand brake, slowing the car as it 
drags along the ground. 

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Soapbox Racer Out of Found Material 

Step 5 

• Construct a seat back by using a flat piece of wood. Foam packing from computer boxes 
can provide a good cushion. 

• I just screwed down a wooden wheel and used that to sit on. 

• We had all kinds of funky seating. My son sat on a skateboard, steered with his feet and 
used the built-in brakes of the back wheels - a set of roller blades. 

Step 6 

• Finally, accessorize! Get creative. Add a spoiler, license plate, roof, umbrella, sail and 
headlights. Then paint your soapbox car your favorite color. 

• In my design I integrated all the design elements in the engineering. 

• My students went crazy!!!! 

last generated on 201 2-1 1-03 12:45:00 AM. 

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